My vacation is over, and while I do regret that–a stay-at-home vacation gives you a taste of how my life could be; just doing errands and chores around the house and of course, writing without interruption, without an eye on the clock knowing I only have so much time to get so much done; the leisure to take my time on projects and not feel rushed, to not feel like I’m not doing the best I can because the clock is ticking and there are other things I have to do…
It’s kind of nice, although it makes me kind of sad to have to go back to the clock-watching and time-scheduling,
I did finish reading Elizabeth Little’s superb Dear Daughter last night.
As soon as they processed my release, Noah and I hit the ground running. A change of clothes. A wig. An inconspicuous sedan. We doubled back once, twice, then drove south when we were headed east. In San Francisco we had a girl who looked like me board a plane to Hawaii.
Oh, I thought I was so clever.
But you probably already know that I’m not.
I mean, come on, you didn’t really think I was just going to disappear, did you? That I would skulk off and live in the shadows? That maybe I would find a distant land, a plastic surgeon, a ceramic half mask and a Punjab lasso? Get real.
But I never meant for it to come to this. There’s attention and then there’s attention, and sure, the latter gets you fame and money and free designer shoes, but I’m not Lindsay Lohan. I understand the concept of declining marginal returns. It was the not knowing–that’s what I couldn’t stand. That’s why I’m here.
It’s hard, really, to believe that Dear Daughter is a debut novel; Little writes with the punch and skill of a much more experienced writer. The main character’s voice is exceptional, strong, and even though she can read as vastly unsympathetic, she is always compelling.
A technicality has overturned Jane Jenkins’ murder conviction; when she was seventeen she was tried as an adult for murdering her socialite mother, with whom she had a rather combative relationship. Jane herself was what is called a ‘celebutante’, like Paris Hilton and others before her, famous really for being famous. (Imagine the circus a Paris Hilton murder trial would have been…) Now that she’s free, Jane wants to prove her innocence (she really doesn’t remember if she actually killer her mother or not) so, with the help of a trusted attorney, she takes on a false identity and disappears; even lying to the lawyer about where she is going. The night of her mother’s murder she heard her mother arguing with a man, and the only words she caught were ‘Tessa’ and ‘Adeline’; she has found a remote town in South Dakota named Adeline, and that’s where she is heading.
The twists and turns and surprises come fast in this novel, and once it kicks into high gear there’s no stopping. Jane herself is a strong, full-fledged character; smart yet vulnerable, lonely, yet the loneliness makes her stronger. She tries to sort out the complicated relationship she had with her mother while trying to find out the truth, not only about her mother’s murder but her mother’s past, as well as her own…very compelling reading.
And the writing itself is quite extraordinary, as well.
I highly recommend this! And can’t wait for her next novel.
And now back to the spice mines.